NEW episode of
“WTF is Happening in the Canadian Oil Sands?”

Today: WTF are we killing #wolves in western Canada?
I say “we” because like it or not, it’s a societal decision we made together. If you don’t like it -- make your voice heard to government #abpoli and #bcpoli If you do buy that it’s necessary -- make your voice heard.
So, Why are we killing wolves?
Abundant research shows #caribou are going down the drain fast. Man-made disturbance is to blame, at least for the rapid contemporary portion of the declines.
There are multiple contributing factors, such as global warming and ensuing arctic greening.
In western Canada, all fingers point to man-made disturbance as the ultimate cause. Mature forest comes down. Linear seismic lines and roads appear, as do polygonal “block” features such as well sites.
There is some caribou avoidance of disturbance, but not enough to cause the drop we’re seeing. Theory and observation suggest increased predation is the proximal cause, as wolves use linear features as highways to rapidly hunt and kill caribou.
Moreover, there are wolves these days, buoyed by invading white-tailed deer populations. More deer = more wolves = less caribou.

So, the choices are few:
1.Kill the wolves to stop the predation.
2.Give caribou a chance using maternity pens to protect the vulnerable littles.
3.Restore disturbed habitat.
So if #wolf culls only half get the job done, and society is kicking back, and the ultimate cause is human-made disturbance – why isn’t this the focus of caribou conservation?
Well, it is.
Industry is investing millions in seismic line restoration. #oilandgas companies want people to buy gas, so they want to solve the #caribou problem, so they can get market share!
Does restoration work, though? There’s the rub. Restoring the entire boreal will be a monumentally expensive endeavour.
The evidence that it works to keep wolves off lines and protect #caribou is also dodgy. It works maybe a little in the short term. Long term, restoration will likely work better… BUT
Provincial governments can’t wait that long. Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) provinces have a legal mandate to conserve caribou. Now. Right now. It can’t wait. Make it so.
So – #oilandgas industry is restoring lines. What immediate action is left for provinces, *within their constitutional bailiwick*? They can manage #wildlife populations. By manage, I mean control. Lethal control, because locking up the wolves isn’t an option.
Thus, to the end: Provinces, forced by #SARA to do something NOW, without other fast tools, are lethally controlling #wolves. This path is lain with political landmines exploding everywhere, all the time. Rightfully so, it is a severe decision we should all be watching closely.
In closing, I leave this idea: attacking #scientists studying wolf culls (see the Atlantic and peer-reviewed journals) is a misfire. Scientists did not make this decision, despite misleading comments in that direction. Nor is #government leaning their decision on this #research.
We need to know how this highly consequential, volatile, divisive, works or not work. We need the #wildlife #science. Rather than attacking scientists, support them. Demand more #science and accountability on this issue. Then we make informed decisions, together.
You can follow @JasonTFisherLab.
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